Merkle's Boner

Fred Merkle
An estimated 20,000 fans watched the game.

Merkle's Boner refers to the notorious base-running mistake committed by rookie Fred Merkle of the New York Giants in a game against the Chicago Cubs on September 23, 1908.

- Merkle's Boner

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Christy Mathewson

Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher, who played 17 seasons with the New York Giants.

Christy Mathewson signature.svg
Mathewson warming up as a New York Giant in 1910
Mathewson in his New York Giants uniform
Mathewson with the New York Giants, c. 1913
Mathewson in 1904
Mathewson and his wife Jane, c. 1916
Mathewson's private "cure cottage" in Saranac Lake
Mathewson's gravesite at Lewisburg Cemetery in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, the Giants were unable to take home the pennant due to what was ultimately known as Merkle's Boner, an incident that cost the Giants a crucial game against the Chicago Cubs, who eventually defeated the Giants in the standings by one game.

Hank O'Day

American right-handed pitcher and later an umpire and manager in Major League Baseball.

The 1888 Washington Nationals at Boston's South End Grounds
During the 1905 World Series, O'Day (back left) confers with plate umpire Jack Sheridan, New York manager John McGraw (right) and two Philadelphia players.
O'Day in 1907, during his umpiring career
O'Day as Cubs manager (1914)

He is largely known for his controversial decision in a pivotal 1908 game, a ruling that still causes debate today.

Fred Merkle

American first baseman in Major League Baseball from 1907 to 1926.

Merkle in 1908
Merkle's baseball card

Although he had a lengthy career, he is best remembered for a controversial base-running mistake he made as a rookie while still a teenager.

1908 World Series

The 1908 World Series matched the defending champion Chicago Cubs against the Detroit Tigers in a rematch of the 1907 Series.

This was the year of the infamous "Merkle's Boner" play that allowed the Chicago Cubs to reach the World Series after beating the New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants) in a one-game "playoff", actually the makeup game for the tie that the Merkle play had caused.

John McGraw

American Major League Baseball (MLB) player and manager who was for almost thirty years manager of the New York Giants.

McGraw in 1910
McGraw while playing for Olean, 1890
Baltimore's "Big Four": McGraw (standing, to the right), with outfielder Joe Kelley (seated left), shortstop Hughie Jennings (seated right), and Wee Willie Keeler (standing left)
McGraw (2nd from left, front row) with the 1896 Baltimore Orioles
McGraw discusses an issue with an umpire and two members of the Philadelphia Athletics at Columbia Park during the 1905 World Series
John McGraw greets fellow manager Jake Stahl at the 1912 World Series.
McGraw (left) with Buck Herzog and Mathewson, 1916
McGraw (right) with Babe Ruth
McGraw in 1924

In a play immortalized as "Merkle's Boner", rookie Fred Merkle, on first base, did not touch second base, but headed for the clubhouse.

Joe Tinker

American professional baseball player and manager.

Tinker with the Chicago Cubs in 1908
Joe Tinker baseball card, 1912
Joe Tinker in a Coca-Cola ad from 1913
Charles Weeghman (left), James A. Gilmore (center), and Tinker (right) at the groundbreaking ceremony for Weeghman Park in 1914
Tinker Field in Orlando, Florida

In the game characterized by Merkle's Boner, Tinker hit an inside-the-park home run against Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants, prior to Fred Merkle's baserunning gaffe.

Johnny Evers

American professional baseball second baseman and manager.

Evers with the Chicago Cubs in 1910
Evers with the Cubs, circa 1910
A 1911 Johnny Evers T205 Tobacco Card

During the 1908 pennant race, Evers alerted the umpires to Fred Merkle's baserunning error in a game against the New York Giants, which became known as "Merkle's Boner".

Al Bridwell

American shortstop in Major League Baseball (MLB).

1911 baseball card of Bridwell

Bridwell is best known for hitting the apparent walk-off single which led to Merkle's Boner in a September 1908 game.

Jack Pfiester

American professional baseball pitcher.

Baseball card of Pfiester

On September 23, 1908, during the Merkle's Boner game against the New York Giants, Pfiester pitched a complete game, allowing five hits, with a dislocated tendon in his pitching forearm.

1908 Chicago Cubs season

The 37th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 33rd in the National League, and the 16th at West Side Park.

Composite image of post-season eligible players of the 1908 Chicago Cubs.

On Wednesday, September 23, 1908, while playing for the New York Giants in a game against the Cubs, 19-year-old Fred Merkle committed a base-running error that later became known as "Merkle's Boner" and earned him the nickname of "Bonehead."